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The answer to the question in the title is both yes and no. Yes, your child should take the test if you believe that your child has an above-average IQ and will benefit from the gifted programs. No, if you feel like your child is average and might do well in other fields, other than academics. If you take a step back and change your perspective, every child is gifted one way or the other. It’s just the matter of identifying the gift, in time.

Reasons to Take CogAT or SCAT

  1. If you feel like your child is gifted, has an above-average IQ, and can do better with specialized instructions, you should consider taking a gifted program. Catching giftedness early on can help you convert it into a talent that can be both personally and professionally fulfilling.
  2. A gifted program can help parents and teachers identify specific learning requirements. This includes both strengths and weaknesses. So, if you are looking to understand your child’s abilities in detail, your child should take SCAT or CogAT.
  3. As already mentioned, a gifted program test can also identify a child’s weaknesses such as learning disabilities. Parents can use this information to advocate for their children and request special interventions and accommodations from schools. This kind of information can also help in decisions regarding school change, remedial therapy, etc.

When Should a Child be Tested for Giftedness?

Children should be tested at the earliest for their giftedness. But it is not possible to test babies or toddlers. Parents can identify the signs and wait till their child achieves a certain age to get them tested. The earliest a child can be tested is 2 years 6 months but experts believe that the results of this age may differ from the result of a test conducted at 5 years old.

Therefore, the best age to test a child would be at age 5, that is, in grade 1. Testing at this age will have a clear impact on school selection, placement, and curriculum. At this age, students become eligible to take gifted tests like CogAT and SCAT. CogAT test provides access to school and district-level gifted programs while SCAT helps students find a place in gifted programs conducted by Johns Hopkins Center for Youth (JHCTY).

Signs of Giftedness

Several signs are attributed to giftedness but these are not officially used to recognize giftedness. Moreover, children change as they grow and may or may not display the same signs at a later age. That is why it is necessary to get children tested through pre-defined tests and with the help of experienced professionals.

Some of the common signs that indicate giftedness and should be considered for a formal test are:

  1. Advanced Vocabulary

Gifted children often have an advanced vocabulary for their age. They use complicated and sophisticated words effortlessly and have an extraordinary ability to express themselves.

  1. Reading Skills

According to experts, gifted children can read ahead of their grades and comprehend information.  They may also have a keen interest in one or more subjects.

  1. Information Retention

Gifted children can retain information for long periods and they are also quick learners. They remember details even after little exposure and have amazing recollections of places they have visited only once.

  1. Intense Concentration

A gifted child may show intense concentration for the subject of their interest. It may be periods of concentration only for one thing and may substantially fade for others subjects. 

  1. Curiosity

It is a well-known fact that intelligent children are curious and ask a lot of questions. They ask questions to learn more about a topic and may have a keen interest in multiple subjects. Parents often find gifted children engrossed in self-initiated projects.  

  1. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is one of the signs of giftedness. Children with gifted minds can process and comprehend information. They can perceive relationships and also understand outcomes and implications. Giftedness also comes with the ability to think abstractly.

  1. Creativity

It’s common to hear that a creative mind is an intelligent mind and that is true. Along with creativity, gifted children are also inventive and are capable of

  1. Energy

If you have seen a child with abundant energy you have probably seen a gifted child. It has been noticed time and again that gifted children have an overwhelming amount of energy and are often reluctant to take a break or catch a nap.

One of the key takeaways of this write-up is the fact that giftedness is different than being intelligent. Parents must understand this crucial difference and ensure that they do not force their children to take special programs. Giftedness can never be learned and children may experience undue stress if they are pushed beyond their capabilities. While taking CogAT or SCAT is great, it is important to accept the result and provide appropriate guidance, in time.

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